Mayor Lee proposes $19M in city funds for programs like Meals on Wheels

With the Meals on Wheels program facing the possibility of federal budget cuts, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced the city is stepping up. 

"Six-thousand is how many lunches and dinners Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers each day just in San Francisco alone.

Some customers say they don't know what they'd do without it. 

"I have a really bad back and it helps me with the food coming in. I don't have to prepare my food and stand in front of a stove for a long time," says Margarita Aroche of San Francisco. 

Meals on Wheels has been under threat of federal budget cuts since March when the White House proposed reductions in the block grant that helps fund the program. 

"That's a bad thing to do. A lot of elders depend on it," said Aroche. 

"I think they are suggesting an abandonment of people in need. That's what's coming out from the Federal Administration side. Whether Congress lets that happen, we're going to fight. But there's no guarantee," said Mayor Ed Lee. 

Lee says he's not waiting to see whether or not the federal government decides to fund meal programs. He is proposing spending $19 million in city funds for home delivery programs; almost half going to Meals on Wheels. 

"I thought in San Francisco, our economy is strong enough. We ought to step up," he said. 

The number of people relying on food delivery has nearly doubled in the past seven years in San Francisco. 

"We're in the unknown zone on the national level of what cuts could be like, or if there will be cuts. But even staying where we are now is unacceptable because the need is so great.

Meals on Wheels says the program allows seniors to be able to live in their homes longer and it's cost effective. They added that it costs about the same amount of money to hospitalize someone for one day as it does to feed that person twice a day for an entire year.